MA in African Studies (Research)


What will I learn?

The research master's in African Studies at Leiden University is unique in continental Europe for the interdisciplinary range of subjects offered and the variety of perspectives.

Why study African Studies (research) at Leiden University?

The two year’s research master’s programme in African Studies at Leiden University bridges the often artificially drawn boundaries between the humanities, such as history and literary studies, and the social sciences, such as anthropology, political science and economics. As a result you have the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge about different aspects of the African continent and its peoples, at the same time you are not bound by boundary constraints of any of the more traditional disciplines focusing on Africa. Small classes ensure that you have plenty of direct contact with your lecturers and a high level of guidance and support throughout your studies.

Develop and practise your research skills

An important aspect of this programme is developing your ability to conduct original and interdisciplinary research. You will have the opportunity to spend an entire year (of which six months consists of fieldwork in Africa) to execute your own research project. This will provide you experiences into working and conducting research in Africa. You will take in-depth courses that will guide you through social theory, methodology development, and proposal writing; you will write a scientific publication, and practice your debating and presentation skills. This will enable you, upon graduation, to initiate independent PhD or policy research, advise and participate in policy development and implementation, or offer training to businesses wanting to do trade in Africa.

Choose your area of interest

During your studies you will gain knowledge on the different regions on the African continent and contextualise and embed your regional knowledge in a broad set of theoretical and thematic perspectives. This will make you well-prepared to subsequently design your own research project on a topic of your liking. The programme is taught by leading African Studies scholars from all the relevant institutions in the Netherlands, including the International Institute of Social History (IISH) and the Universities of Wageningen (WUR) and Amsterdam (UvA and VU).

African Studies (research) degree

African Studies (research) at Leiden University is an accredited degree programme. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a research master’s degree in African Studies and the title Master of Arts (MA).

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University.

What our graduates do

You will be able to pursue an academic career or to work in governmental policy-making departments, with NGOs involved in development cooperation projects, with international organisations, or in (applied) research, management, education, journalism or public relations. Our alumni work at various organisations, including universities, idealistic organisations, publishers, museums and socio-cultural establishments.

Our graduates end up working in a diverse range of positions, examples include:

  • PhD candidate at a university in the UK
  • Policy researcher in Lagos
  • Policy officer for agriculture and trade at an embassy in Ghana
  • Teacher of African languages
  • Journalist
  • Curator at a cultural institution
  • Project Manager at an NGO in Senegal
  • Team leader at a human rights organisation
  • Editorial manager

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Humanities

Study options

Full Time (2 years)

Tuition fees
€17,716.00 (15,65,433) per year
Application deadline

Expected April 2024

More details

Start date

Expected September 2023


Leiden University

Rapenburg 70,



2311, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants need a BA or BSc degree (or equivalent) to be admitted to any of Leiden University’s master’s programmes. English-language proficiency: IELTS - 6.0; Toefl (internet based): 80 (component score: 20); Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE), or C1 Advanced (CAE): Cambridge component score of 169.

For international students

  • A copy of a valid passport or ID card
  • A copy of a Dutch residence permit (if applicable)
  • CV (résumé)
  • Language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Copies of diplomas and transcripts
  • Letter of motivation

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


Get in touch